Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

African Union

Crypto regulation rising in many AU countries: Cryptocurrency regulation is being pursued more and more rigorously by the African governments in recent times as they set to curtail the powers of decentralization and borderless options advocated by cryptocurrencies.

Zimbabwe is an interesting case study as the official policy flip-flopped between deregulating and over-regulating the industry. Kenya is also considering placing more regulations on the industry. Other countries like Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ghana have shown openness in cryptocurrency adoption but they are also planning regulation in the near future.

South Africa

Crypto investors urged to be responsible: With the increase in the number of cryptocurrency investors in South Africa, the investor community is being urged to be responsible by international family office Stonehage Fleming.

Eran Brill, Director of Stonehage’s Investment Management division in South Africa has urged all the investors to give their beneficiaries a full picture of their holdings because in the event of their death, they will have a hard time accessing these assets. He also outlined several ways in which this can be achieved without comprising the security of the wallets and exchange accounts.

Nigeria

Firm launches anti-fraud blockchain: A london-based firm has launched an anti-fraudulent blockchain network partnership with KAD ICT Hub based in Kaduna in Nigeria.

The main purposes of the partnership are microfinance and financial inclusion for tens of millions of Nigerians who do not have access to basic banking services. The move is part of a bigger initiative called Africa Blockchain Lab that was opened back in August 2018.

The anti-fraud network uses Confirm’s AMLT network to investigate suspicious cryptocurrency addresses. The anti-fraud option is important for Africa because many investors and public are inexperienced in cryptocurrency and financial matters.

Zimbabwe

WhatsApp trading hitting record levels: While governments are taking hard measures against cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency trading in African countries like Zimbabwe are hitting new highs thanks to unconventional means of trading like the popular messaging app WhatsApp.

Zimbabwe is one of the unfortunate countries suffering from hyperinflation and many citizens are turning to cryptocurrencies to help circumnavigate the rampant inflation in the country. A recent insight into the cryptocurrency trading scene based on WhatsApp reveals trading agents using groups and private chats to connect sellers and buyers of Bitcoin. They charge a 5% commission for each trade for their services.

WhatsApp circles saw increased trading after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe banned two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country: Golix and Styx24.

Israel

Government may lower crypto taxes: The Israeli government may just lower cryptocurrency taxation in the country by 50% after months of hostility towards cryptocurrencies.

The announcement was made by the deputy director general for Israel Tax Authority Roland Am-Shalem and it said that it will not insist in calculating FIFO for taxation of cryptocurrencies.

This is finally some good news for cryptocurrency traders in Israel who have suffered due to lack of official recognition of cryptocurrencies in recent times.

United Arab Emirates

Government announces securities status for crypto, plans ICO legalization by 2019: The UAE government is working to legalize initial coin offerings (ICOs) by 2019 and has declared cryptocurrencies to be a form of securities. The latest pro-crypto move is to increase blockchain-related investment in the country and attract DLT-based businesses.

According to the country’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), Obaid Said Al-Zaabi, head of the top regulator said:

“The board of the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority has approved considering ICOs as securities. As per our plan, we should have regulations on the ground in the first half of 2019.”

However, the utility-security conundrum of cryptocurrencies has not been addressed fully as of yet.

 

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